For the past two weeks, we’ve been reviewing the areas of law covered by the California Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets, year by year, beginning in 2000. Today and tomorrow, we address the criminal docket between 2005 and 2009.
Death penalty appeals were up sharply in 2005. The Court decided 25 automatic death penalty appeals, for 40.98% of the criminal docket. Criminal procedure and constitutional law were next, each accounting for 11.48% of the cases. The Court heard six habeas corpus cases – 9.84% of the criminal docket. Sentencing law was next, accounting for 8.2% of the docket, and violent crimes accounted for 6.56%. Juvenile matters and sex crimes were next, each contributing 3.28% of the docket. Finally, the Court heard one case each arising from attorney admission and fitness, property crimes and drug crimes.
The data for 2006 is reported in Table 64 below. Death penalty appeals were down slightly, but still accounted for the largest single share of the criminal docket at 35.19%. Constitutional law and criminal procedure were once again next, contributing 18.52% and 14.81% of the cases, respectively. Sentencing law was up slightly, adding 11.11%. Violent crimes accounted for 7.41% of the Court’s criminal cases, while habeas corpus contributed 5.56%. Juvenile matters were essentially flat, adding 3.7% to the Court’s criminal docket. Finally, the Court heard one case each in the areas of financial crimes and drug crimes.
Death penalty appeals were up slightly in 2007, again accounting for the biggest single share of the criminal docket at 37.7%. Violent crimes, sentencing and constitutional law were tied in second place, each contributing 13.11% of the criminal docket. Criminal procedure was close behind at 11.48%. The rest of the docket was concentrated in only two more subjects, with juvenile law accounting for 8.2% of the docket, and habeas corpus cases 3.28%.
Join us back here tomorrow as we address the criminal docket in 2008 and 2009.